Biomimicry can be defined as the practice of looking to nature for inspiration to solve design problems in a regenerative way.
There is a large cohort of work dedicated to this type of design; so much so that the Biomimicry Institute was founded in 2006 as a place to share nature’s design lessons. The three fundamental elements of biomimicry practice, as defined by the Biomimicry Institute, are Emulate, Ethos, and (Re)Connect. We emulate nature by learning about its processes and trying to replicate them. With this new information, we are charged to use this knowledge to help heal the planet.
So, what does biomimicry look like?
Maybe it looks like a novel fabric that utilizes proteins found in a coral to achieve superior performance without sacrificing eco-consciousness. The company Werewool identifies different natural protein structures to grow textiles with inherent performance properties. This intensive analysis allows for textiles to be produced without toxic dyes, finishes, or petroleum-based synthetics.
Biomimicry can also take the form of investigating how nature produces its beautiful colors.
Taking inspiration from the blue morpho butterfly, the company Cypris Materials has developed a color coating that can be applied as paint; this coating can be fine-tuned to enhance energy efficiency for buildings and cars. Additionally, this technology can provide vibrant hues without introducing toxic pigments or colorants into the environment. Pretty cool, huh?
Our own company, spotLESS Materials, uses technology that is based on biomimicry.
By investigating the mechanism of action of the Nepenthes pitcher plant, scientists were able to develop super-slippery coatings that can be used for a variety of applications. These coatings keep toilets and sinks clean while dramatically reducing the amount of water and cleaning chemicals needed to maintain cleanliness.